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LinkedIn: Business networking made easy

If Facebook can seem like a teenage house party, then LinkedIn is civilised networking drinks. Social media for corporates, LinkedIn is an effective tool to network with other businesses and professionals.
Put up a photo
While LinkedIn limits a user’s opportunities to decorate their profile page, there are still basic design principles that should be followed to ensure information reads well and is eye-catching.

Firstly, upload a great photo to replace that mysterious gray shadow and then write a short summary about your business from the perspective of an owner or director, including any LinkedIn goals.

A little subtlety goes a long way, and it’s best not to write that the chief goal is to find retailers for a particular product, or to find suppliers willing to give discounts. Instead, mention a desire to learn as well as share business experience and knowledge.

Make meaningful connections

Facebook can sometimes come across as a bit of a popularity contest for brands. How many ‘likes’ a business has or how many people are ‘talking about this’ can become key statistics about how well a company is doing.

On LinkedIn though, having a lot of connections means nothing unless businesses are conversing with those connections to directly achieve their aims.

When assessing whom to connect with, it’s best not to use the scattergun approach. Instead, contact people who could assist with your success – people with whom you want to start an ongoing discussion.

When the time comes to reach out to someone, complete the personal note form that explains how you know this person and why you want to connect with them, then keep the conversation going with messages back and forth.

Undertaking some research on a potential connection to find common interests other than a shared industry is a sure-fire way to strengthen any connection.

Share business news
Most Facebook fans probably don’t care about first quarter results but LinkedIn is a perfect place to share business achievements, or to make requests for help. Share articles that you consider useful to your business and encourage feedback wherever possible. Sharing useful information is a good way to become a valued member of a contact group and to build respect with other businesses.

Who knows? Sharing information that makes other people’s lives easier just might lead to some valuable payback later on. What goes around comes around..

Create a company page
Most of your work on LinkedIn will be through your personal page – which is where connections are generally made – however, providing a link to a dedicated company page within LinkedIn will help others to gain more information without the need for a Google search.

Company pages are best kept simple. Add a small company description at the top of your page that provides a decent snapshot about the size of your operation and the company’s LinkedIn goals, then list all employee profiles underneath.

Consider adding RSS feeds and news modules to this page so it feels fresh, and try to keep the “products” tab updated to reflect the current focus of the business. Most of all, write new company statuses frequently.

Edit and update your profile with qualifications
Edit and update your profile with qualifications

Create and join other business networks and groups
Create and join other business networks and groups

Find other professionals in your sector and see how you’re linked
Find other professionals in your sector and see how you’re linked


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